I think your idea to get men to read more fiction is a nobel one. Especially if it’s showing such positive benefits. I have a suggestion, comic books. They’re short, easy to read, require imagination, and can put the reader in the shoes of the protagonist.
Someone from a teaching background may scoff at that idea because of the low level of dialogue or the medium’s childish nature. However, comic books can have a deep nature to them and the characters can deal with crazy moral problems. Comic books also leave spaces in action between the illustrated boxes. These spaces must be filled with imagination between the illustrations of what’s happening. The static boxes of illustration can only put so much together for you, the reader must do the rest in their mind.
I can think of two people immediately who benefited from reading comic books as a child. First, Joe Rogan spent a lot of time reading comic books. He hosts one of the biggest podcasts on the internet right now. He’s an avid reader (of much larger books now) and a published author. He’s not a dope by any stretch of the imagination and thinks deeply about a wide array of topics. It’s easy to see if you listen to any of his interviews, he’s a deep thinker. It all began with comic books.
The second is Jim Quick. Jim Quick had a traumatic brain injury as a child and could barely read. He has a vivid memory of a teacher pointing at him and saying, “there’s the child with the broken brain.” He started reading by reading comic books. That was his base. Jim is now totally healed and is a brain coach. He coaches people on skills for memory and reading. If you watch some of his demonstrations on memory, they’ll blow you away. It all started with comic books for him and he was starting at less than zero.
I think you’re idea of men reading more fiction is a good one. Start small and build off of the momentum. Instead of trying to transform boys, give them something they like. Once it’s in their hands and they’re reading, build off of the momentum. Comic books can grow into Harry Potter or Michael Vey. From the child’s fiction, grow some more into something even deeper. We can learn from Joe Rogan and Jim Quick, especially about momentum. Start at a jog and build into a sprint.
Good article and thanks for giving me something deep to ponder while I can’t sleep.